3 new enhancements to Project Online

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Keeping with the theme of continuous innovations, we are excited to roll out three new improvements to Project Online as a direct result of requests from our users.

Email notifications

Team members, project managers and resource managers need to stay informed on the tasks that have been assigned to them and pending items others are waiting on to complete. To help, we are bringing improved email notifications functionality to Project Online. Email notifications in Project Online keep you on top of what’s coming, let you know when things are due and what’s currently on your plate.

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For more details on taking advantage of email notifications see:

This feature is available today across all Project Web App (PWA) sites.

Project IDs

One consistent request we have received is a need for organizations to generate a unique project ID for each new project. This allows users to refer to a project independent of the project name, which may change. Organizations accomplished this through a number of ways: manually entering the next number when a project is created, building it into their workflow or using the custom event handler. Instead of having users build custom solutions or introduce a manual process, we thought it would be better to have it baked into the service. We are pleased to introduce a new feature that generates a unique project ID on project creation!

To enable this functionality, you need to define your project ID as part of the Enterprise Project Type (EPT):

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Each EPT has its own project ID definition. You can specify a fixed Pre- and Postfix, Starting Number and Minimum Digit Padding. The project ID can be added to a number of views throughout PWA and in custom reports. It can also be programmatically updated using CSOM.

We are just putting the final touches on this feature, and it will start reaching PWA sites over the next couple of months. Watch the Office Roadmap regarding the latest information on its release at:

Increasing custom field limits for reporting

Another overwhelming piece of feedback we received from users was the ability to include more project text custom fields in their reports. We have increased the limits on ALL custom field types that can be reported on.

Here are the new limits:

Project custom fields Timesheet custom fields Task and Resource custom fields, combined
450 text fields 450 text fields 450 text fields
450 lookup tables 450 lookup tables 450 lookup tables
450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag) 450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag) 450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag)

This change is effective today across all PWA sites!

We are excited to be rolling out these new features. We hope that these new improvements to Project Online will improve your productivity. For more information about upcoming improvements to Project Online, please visit

—Chris Boyd, principal program manager for the Project team

  1. Thanks Chris for updates. The creation of unique Project ID’s is really what I am looking forward now for one of my client.

  2. 3 features, and 3 strong requirements ! bravo !
    One of our customer developed the ID thru SSRS but it was slow on the first time of the day, due to SSRS memory recycling. Do you know if it will be included in Project Server 2016 RTM or update ? This could be a strong reason to update.
    Do you anticipate from strong usage of customed fields (for instance 20 tasks with formulas) an impact on performance ?

    • Great to hear you are excited about these three new improvements!
      Q1: The Project team is just wrapping up the Project Server 2016 release and unfortunately Project ID functionality will not be shipping with Project Server 2016.
      Q2: Having complex formulas on lots of custom fields can impact performance. I would recommend for formula custom fields that are not required to be in line with the schedule edit experiences to rely on reporting tools to calculate the required values.

  3. Thank you product team for the information and these new features. Quick question about the Project ID feature-

    We will definitely use this tool going forward, but have already manually created about 70 projects with unique IDs in a custom field. Will there be a way to manually populate this new field in order to go backwards and enter the proper Project ID for all of our existing projects?

    • Yes! As a PWA admin you can add the Project ID field to a project details page and make the field editable. You can also update the field programmatically using CSOM.

  4. Hi
    does the increased custom field feature come from a change in reporting schema? Or from a newer SQL version in the background?
    In 2010/2013 we could not have more that about 250 custom fields per entity – technical hard limit coming from maximum joins in a SQL Server view. More fields do not make it into the UserViews.
    Makes reporting difficult – and prevents migration 2010 to 2013 (not tested with 2013-2016).

    • Neither. It was a limitation imposed by us supporting multiple PWA sites in a single database. We have since increased the limits by adding additional tables to SQL to support the additional custom fields.

    • There are no plans to release this in a CU for Project Server 2013 or Project Server 2016. For now, it will remain an online feature.

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